The Green Mountain Youth Symphony welcomes young musicians of all levels (beginner, intermediate, and advanced), all ages (6-18), and all orchestral instruments (strings, winds, brass, and percussion). We offer musical instruction at the highest level through placement in one of our three orchestras.


Rehearsals & Performances

All three orchestras rehearseonce a week on Saturdays during the school year and perform at the Barre Opera House at the end of each semester, as well as at various other community venues and events throughout the year.

Rehearsals take place at U32 Junior Senior High School in Montpelier, unless otherwise noted.

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Concert Dress for performances

Repertory Orchestra and Concert Orchestra members should wear white tops, black bottoms, black shoes (NO SNEAKERS, please), black socks if wearing pants, and black bow ties for boys. Bow ties can be purchased in most local shops which rent formal wear. There are also several online vendors who sell them.

Senior Orchestra members should wear black tops, black bottoms, black shoes (NO SNEAKERS, please) and black socks if wearing pants. Ties are not required. Skirts/dresses should be at least knee length when seated or be worn with black tights/stockings.



Tuition for 2017 - 2018:

Performance Group
Fall Spring Full Year


Tuition must be paid in full by the first rehearsal of the semester, unless other arrangements are made in advance. If the tuition is unpaid, members may not participate. You may make arrangements to pay tuition in two installments, with half due by the first rehearsal, by contacting the Orchestra Manager.

Please make checks payable to the Green Mountain Youth Symphony and send to GMYS at P.O. Box 384, Montpelier, VT 05601-0384.


Tuition & Financial Assistance

No student is turned away due to an inability to pay

The Green Mountain Youth Symphony awards tuition assistance on the basis of income and family size. Families are asked to complete a Financial Aid Application and provide a copy of their federal income tax return. For those who qualify for assistance, awards cover from 25% to 100% of the cost of tuition. Anywhere from 12% to 25% of GMYS students receive tuition assistance each year.


Tuition Assistance

Tuition assistance is available, and is granted on the basis of income and family size. To apply for assistance , families must complete a Financial Aid Application form and return it to GMYS along with a copy of their most recent Federal Income Tax return. Students who qualify for assistance wil be offered an award to cover a portion of the cost of tuition. A current Financial Aid Application can be obtained by contacting the Orchestra Manager.


Other Scholarships

The Shep Resnick Music Scholarship Fund of the Green Mountain Swing

Green Mountain Swing, a Central Vermont jazz band, in memory of its longtime director Shep Resnik, offers scholarships to current GMYS students to supplement private lesson fees. The number and amount of the scholarships varies each year. GMYS recommends students for these scholarships on the basis of financial need and conductor recommendations. Funds are distributed directly to the students' private instructors.

Students must meet the following criteria in order to be considered for one of the scholarships made possible by Green Mountain Swing:

  • Current orchestra participant
  • Demonstrated financial need
  • Intends to continue playing with the orchestra for the full year
  • Has received a recommendation from his/her GMYS conductor
  • Will use the scholarship only for private lessons with an instructor proficient on his/her chosen instrument




Download the 2016-2017 GMYS Student Handbook. Click here.



Students are expected to attend all rehearsals. In order to make an orchestra work it simply requires all musicians to be there. It is important to be in your seat ten minutes early so you can be warmed up when the rehearsal starts. We will allow three unexcused absences, but anyone missing more than that must talk to their conductor and gain permission first or they may lose their privilege to play in the concert. Please note that two late arrivals equal one unexcused absence. Excused absences include bad weather, music festivals, and college testing conflicts. The conductor will have the final decision about student participation in concerts. We’re sorry to be so tough on this, but without consistent attendance, it is almost impossible to make an orchestra work. Each player is important! If you plan on missing or being late for a rehearsal please email or call your conductor in advance to let him know. For those with sports conflicts, please talk to the conductor and make special arrangements. Though we don’t want kids to have to choose between sports and music, it is our expectation that players will split the difference with their sports team.

Behavior Expectations

Reasonable standards of behavior are expected while rehearsing, performing, or participating in any event in connection with the Green Mountain Youth Symphony. Please demonstrate appropriate, respectful behavior toward GMYS staff, fellow orchestra members, and at all performance and rehearsal venues.

Weapons, controlled substances, and other hazardous materials are prohibited at GMYS events
. A weapon is any item used in a threatening manner. The unauthorized use of all potentially harmful items (such as knives, scissors) is prohibited.
Specifically, please adhere to U-32’s rules for building use, which include but are not limited to the following:

  • Alcohol, tobacco, and illegal drug use is prohibited.
  • All trash must be picked up and disposed of properly.
  • No vehicles may be parked or driven behind the school – cars must be parked in the main lot.
  • Chairs, tables, and other moveable equipment must be left/returned to original place.

    Access to the main school facility is denied unless specifically arranged.
    Failure to follow these rules may result in immediate suspension of building/facility use.


The conductor of each orchestra sets expectations for rehearsal and concert behavior. Failure to abide by the requirements will result in the following steps:

  1. The conductor speaks to the student and parents concerning the problem.
  2. If the problem persists, the conductor and music director may decide to expel the student from the orchestra. (Tuition is non-refundable.)


Nondiscrimination Statement

GMYS does not and shall not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion (creed), gender, gender expression, age, national origin (ancestry), disability, marital status, sexual orientation, or military status, in any of its activities or operations. These activities include, but are not limited to, hiring and firing of staff, selection of volunteers and vendors, and provision of services. We are committed to providing an inclusive and welcoming environment for all members of the GMYS community.

GMYS is an equal opportunity employer. We will not discriminate and will take affirmative action measures to ensure against discrimination in employment, recruitment, advertisements for employment, compensation, termination, upgrading, promotions, and other conditions of employment against any employee or job applicant on the bases of race, color, gender, national origin, age, religion, creed, disability, veteran's status, sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.

Performance Expectations:

Orchestra members are expected to practice their instruments and parts, and to work to performance level. Please speak with your conductor if you are having any difficulties with the music. They are there to help! In addition, we encourage all students to study privately with an instructor proficient on his/her chosen instrument. GMYS provides a directory of local private music teachers.

Concert Etiquette:

GMYS members and their families are expected to remain for the entire concert to support their fellow musicians (concerts generally last approximately 2 ½ hours). If this is impossible for the youngest musicians and their even younger siblings due to the length of the program, please stay to hear the group that follows yours on the program. This means Repertory Orchestra musicians should stay through the performance of the Concert Orchestra, and Concert Orchestra musicians should stay through the Senior Orchestra performance unless it is absolutely necessary to leave after the first half of it. While in the audience, please do not talk, change seats, walk around in the theater, or leave in the middle of a performance. All of our students work extremely hard throughout the semester and deserve our complete and respectful attention when they are performing. Thank you.

School Music Programs:

GMYS students are expected to participate in their school music programs, if available.


Announcements, rehearsal changes, and concert information will be distributed by email and updated on our website. If you do not have email, please let Sarah Madru know so we can reach you by telephone in the event of a rehearsal cancellation.

Weather Cancellations:

In case of bad weather we will send emails to all families as well as put announcements on WDEV and WNCS as well as on our website. It is families' responsibility to check these resources for cancellations. If in doubt, call Leah Wilhjelm at 888-4470. Leah will call the short list of families without emails. If you don’t have email or internet access, listen to the radio.



Being in an orchestra can be challengin when you are not sure where to turn in time sof need. We have compiled some resources for you to use. Contact us if you have a question that are not answered on this page.

Private Instruction:

Monteverdi Music School
Woodbury Strings
Vermont Violins


Instrument Sales / Rentals / Repairs:

Double Reed Shop
Ellis Music Company
Gregoires Violin Shop
Guitar Sam
Advance Music Center
Paul Perley Cellos
Vermont Brass
Vermont Violins


Web Links:

Green Mountain Swing
Northeast Fiddler Association
Vermont Fiddle Orchestra
Vermont Music Educators Association
New England Music Festival Association


Kids Music Websites:

Creating Music (note trainer)
New York Philharmonic Kids
Play Music
San Francisco Symphony Kids



Students who wish to perform with the Green Mountain Youth Symphony should be able to read music; and wind, percussion, and brass players should have been playing their chosen instrument for at least one year. The musician should audition with a polished piece, a scale of their choosing, and should expect to sight-read. Violin and viola players who wish to audition for advanced placement should prepare a three-octave scale with at least 2 sharps or flats, and cellists auditioning for advanced orchestra placement should prepare a four-octave scale.

Please contact the Orchestra Manager to schedule an audtion.


Audtion Tips


First of all, be “conversant” in your scales. Think of scales as a means to introduce yourself to the conductor. They need to be played with confidence, with a big, full tone, and played well in-tune. Don’t ever take scales for granted! Competence in scales gives one a foundation for being able to play music skillfully. Scales are the vehicles for conquering the technical demands of your music and for conquering sightreading, which will be addressed later.


The next part of your audition is your solo. Are the conductors interested in technical solos? Yes, BUT not if MUSIC is sacrificed! We would prefer to hear something played with beauty and expression, with style and a lovely tone, and with excellent tuning, rather than a technical piece that sacrifices any of those qualities. Technique for technique’s sake is not music to us. Until you are playing expressively and in tune, lots of notes are not going to impress us. If you play fast and sloppy on your prepared piece, we must consider that your practice habits need improvement. Since musicians generally work on their solos over a long period of time, it is important to us that you display thorough preparation, especially given that GMYS orchestras rehearse only once a week, and there are only a few rehearsals before each concert. We must have confidence that you can prepare well.


Sightreading! You might say, ugh! But its importance cannot be emphasized enough. The first two aspects of sightreading that are important are: (1) recognition of the key of the piece (scale knowledge!) and (2) good reading of rhythms. Not only the correct execution of rhythms, but the proper counting of note values is essential. Our orchestras are large in size in order to emulate the symphony orchestra setting. Can you imagine a large group trying to play together without the fundamentals of good counting skills? One might say, “I can’t sightread well, but I can take the music home and work it out.” Included in learning to play one’s instrument well are good sightreading skills, especially for the orchestra setting. Again, with so few rehearsals to prepare for concerts, it is essential that we sightread music well so we can start work right way. Time is of the essence. We do expect you to take your music home to work on details, but that does not change the importance of skillful sightreading. Sightreading skills are developed just as normal reading skills are developed. As in every learned skill, there is a process. You learn your ABC’s (scales) and you start by reading easy music. You read more and more to build your “musical vocabulary”. As you advance, you read with greater fluency and knowledge. To reach a high level of proficiency in sightreading one must have an advanced vocabulary (scale knowledge, key signature and rhythmic recognition), and one must have the ability to include expressive qualities. This would put the sight-reading of the advanced musician near a performance level. You can practice for sightreading! Just do it! Start by reading something easy.

Be sure you

  • observe the key signature
  • count carefully
  • watch for accidentals and rhythmic changes
  • observe your dynamics
  • play at a tempo where you feel you can get through the music without stopping (slower is better)
  • try your best to be expressive!
  • look up the words at the beginnings of your music, like “andante”, “allegro”, “maestoso”, “giocoso”, etc., since they are clues about the speed and/or style of the music.

Include sightreading in your daily practice so you can be fluent in your music reading! Above all, be expressive. Think of your audition as an interview. Know that you will have competition. You want to appear confident and knowledgeable, and you want to convince the conductors that you are just the right person for their orchestra! First impressions are important. Preparation should be thorough. Prove yourself technically and above all, be expressive!


Auditions Sign-Up

Acceptance into the Green Mountain Youth Symphony’s orchestra program or summer music program is by audition only.

Students who wish to perform with the Green Mountain Youth Symphony should be able to read music; and wind, percussion, and brass players should have been playing their chosen instrument for at least one year. The musician should audition with a polished piece, a scale of their choosing, and should expect to sight-read. String players who wish to audition for advanced placement should prepare a three-octave scale with at least 2 sharps or flats.

Auditions take place at U32 Junior Senior High School in Montpelier and last ten minutes each. Practice rooms are available for warming up.




Latest News & Events

The Green Mountain Youth Symphony Third Annual Playathon

Monteplier, Vermont October 8, 2016

GMYS musicians played from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Christ Episcopal Church on State Street in Montpelier to the delight of downtown crowds. This was the third year GMYS has put on a playathon. Delicious baked goods provided by friends and families of GMYS were sold, and increased to the success of this tradition. A big thanks to our musicians who solicited pledges to support our programming.



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The Green Mountain Youth Orchestra and its programs are made possible by the generosity of others. There are several ways to support GMYS.



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